Ruth Caroline Burkholder
- Published: January 23, 2014
Ruth was born in Hudson on the Fourth of July, 1916, to Ruth (Warner) Lovett and Charles “Carl” H. Lovett. At the early age of 15, Ruth graduated with honors from Hudson High School in the Class of 1932. In the years following high school graduation, Ruth completed a business course at the Rasmussen Business College in St. Paul, Minnesota, attended River Falls Teachers College (now University of Wisconsin-River Falls), and worked as a secretary for the Kindy Optical Company in St. Paul. In 1936 she entered the University of Wisconsin-Madison, majoring in biology.
On June 15, 1940 Ruth married her high school sweetheart, John Curtis Burkholder, at the First Presbyterian Church in Hudson. Ruth and Curtis were blessed with a happy marriage for 58 years. They had four children: John Charles, David Keith (d. 1946), Barbara Ruth and Mary Beth. During their life together, Ruth and Curtis had homes in Michigan, Maine, Massachusetts, Missouri, Florida, Georgia, Ohio and Wisconsin. Following Curtis’s retirement in 1973, they spent the next 25 years in the small town of Clayton, Ga. in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains. After Curtis’s death in 1998, Ruth lived for a short time in Ohio and then returned to her beloved hometown of Hudson for the last 13 years of her life.
Besides being a loving wife to Curtis and mother to her children, Ruth was a devoted and enthusiastic grandmother to her three grandsons, Matthew, Aaron and Adam Zaremsky of Yellow Springs. She spent as much time with them as possible and helped instill in them a love of learning, music and nature. She had much joy and pride in all of their activities and accomplishments.
One of Ruth’s favorite quotes was, “Service is the rent we pay for the privilege of living on this earth.” Throughout her entire life, she was a tireless volunteer and gave of her time, talents and energy to countless community and church organizations wherever she lived. In regard to her community service, Curtis once commented, “She seldom refused a job when asked, if it gave her the opportunity to be of service to her church or community.”
Her love of nature was a life-long passion and one of her greatest joys in life was hiking in the woods, discovering wild flowers and marveling at the beauty of the world. Her children all have vivid memories of being dragged through the woods to ooh and aah over some beautiful species that she had found. She was a devout lover of animals and was instrumental in starting a humane society in Rabun County, Georgia. Travel was another life-long interest and her children were taken on many wonderful trips in their growing up years. In retirement, Ruth and Curtis traveled extensively all over the US and abroad and did volunteer work in Quito, Ecuador and Sitka, Alaska. Traveling to visit with children and grandchildren was always of the utmost importance.
Anyone who knew Ruth was aware of her great love of music. She started piano lessons at the age of six and played piano for the rest of her life, also playing clarinet and saxophone during her school years. Even when the inevitable problems of aging made it increasingly difficult to play, she continued to use her piano skills to entertain others whenever possible. She absolutely loved sitting at the piano playing for a sing-along.
Ruth enjoyed people so much: meeting them, getting to know them and extending hospitality to them. She loved to feed people and was never happier than when she could cook for a crowd, host a holiday event, gather people for a picnic or put on one of her legendary “themed” parties. Above all, she was always thinking of others, remembering those in need, visiting shut-ins, and taking food to the ill or those who were grieving. She never failed to be mindful of helping others.
In one of her journals Ruth once wrote, “Oh, how I love life!” How very true this was. We remember today that she died but we will always remember that she lived.
Ruth was preceded in death by her parents Ruth and Carl Lovett, husband J. Curtis Burkholder, son David K. Burkholder and brother Herbert Lovett. She is survived by son John C. Burkholder (Nancy Krohn) of Evansville, Wisconsin, daughter Barbara R. Burkholder of Hudson, Wisconsin, daughter Mary Beth Burkholder (Gary Zaremsky) of Yellow Springs, grandsons Matthew Zaremsky (Samantha Ley) of Binghamton, New York, Aaron Zaremsky and Adam Zaremsky of Yellow Springs and loving nieces and nephews.
Memorials contributions may be sent to YS Kids Playhouse or The Carter Center.